How Your Eyes Can Speak

Eyes are the window to the soul, or so said William Shakespeare, we now know just how inherent to our humanity this non verbal communication is. Shakespeare was on to something. Do you know that to a casual observer, between 60-90% of our communication is non verbal, though the use of facial expressions.  And if you include so called micro expressions, which last as little as 1/25 of a second, that you can literally miss in the blink of an eye that takes 1/5 of a second, you begin to recognize that our eyes and lids and eyebrows which make up more than 1/3 of our face are essential to communicate what is in our mind and hearts. They also serve as a window to what the physical body is communicating but rather than through micro expressions, the eyes communicate the health of the body through microscopic changes.  All it takes is a complete eye examination to “hear” what the body is trying to “say.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 40 percent of people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime. An eye exam can reveal many types of cancer, including skin cancer, which can affect the eyelids and outer surfaces of the eye.

During an examination, an ophthalmologist can see changes to the optic nerve that may be caused by a tumor, a cancer that may have started in the breast or other areas of the body and metastasized to the ocular structure. Even changes in the size of the pupils, loss of side vision or double vision can be signs of trouble somewhere in the body.

Leukemia or lymphoma may represent themselves on the interior aspect of the eye.

An eye exam can also be invaluable in detecting heart disease, which based on statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, account for one in four deaths.

Early signs of heart disease can be detected when the retina is examined with optical coherence tomography, which reveals minute marks on the retina that may have been caused by a previous stroke.

High blood pressure, which often leads to heart disease, affects one in three adults and is considered a risk factor for the onset of eye problems such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. A dilated eye exam can disclose signs of high blood pressure in the form of bleeding from blood vessels in the back of the eye. It can also expose high cholesterol, pre-cursor to strokes. Ophthalmologists know that a yellow or blue ring around the corner or deposits in the retinal blood vessels can signal elevated cholesterol.

An examination of the retina can also discover early signs of diabetes before the patient is officially diagnosed with a condition that can lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, vision loss and Alzheimer’s dementia. The disease can manifest itself through the leakage of yellow fluid or blood.

Through a complete eye exam, an ophthalmologist can also identify conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, some vitamin deficiencies and even medication toxicities.

Should your ophthalmologist find any possible health issue during a routine eye exam, he will refer you to your primary care provider or specialist.

Eyes reveal the world around us but also reveal the inner worlds of our heart, mind, and body. They let us know when our bodies need help.

For more information, call 321-984-3200 or visit